Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after his sortie in LCA Tejas in Bengaluru. Photo/ANI
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after his sortie in LCA Tejas in Bengaluru. Photo/ANI

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to fly a sortie in Rafale

ANI | Updated: Oct 03, 2019 22:01 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 3 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to fly in the first Rafale combat aircraft manufactured for India in France during his visit there on October 8.
The Defence Minister is scheduled to visit France to receive Rafale fighter jets on October 8, which is also the Air Force Day and Dussehra.
Though the Rafale planes would be officially inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) with the Defence Minister's visit, they would start arriving in India only in May 2020 after training of pilots and personnel on it.
"As per plans, a French pilot will fly in the front cockpit while Rajnath Singh will sit in the rear cockpit. The first Indian Rafale aircraft with tail no RB-01 will be used for the sortie," sources in IAF said.
The tail number has the initials of newly-appointed IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria in recognition of his role in the around Rs 60,000 crore deal signed in 2016 for 36 planes.
Defence Minister had recently flown in the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas in Bengaluru.
After receiving the Rafale fighter jets, the Defence Minister will hold talks with the French government on further strengthening the military ties.
The Defence Minister will land in Bordeaux for officially receiving the plane on October 8 and then leave for Paris to hold talks on defence ties with his French counterparts on October 9, sources added.
From the IAF, newly appointed Vice Chief Air Marshal HS Arora is scheduled to accompany the Defence Minister for receiving the aircraft.
Earlier, the Air Chief was also supposed to travel along with the Minister but due to change in programme, he would now be busy with the Air Force Day celebrations in the national capital region.
Top French military brass as well as senior officials of the Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, will also be present at the handing over ceremony.
The Indian planes have been equipped with a lot of India-specific enhancements, which have been fitted at a cost of around one billion euros. (ANI)